Sunday, June 16, 2013

Land of the Afghan

Afghanistan, (which literally means Land of the Afghan) is a mountainous land-locked country located in Central Asia. It has a history and culture that goes back over 5000 years. Throughout its long, splendid, and sometimes chaotic history, this area of the world has been known by various names. In ancient times, its inhabitants called the land Aryana. In the medieval era, it was called Khorasan, and in modern times, its people have decided to call it Afghanistan. The exact population of Afghanistan is unknown, however, it is estimated to be somewhere close to 32 million.
Afghanistan is a heterogeneous nation, in which there are four major ethnic groups: Pashtoons, Tajiks, Hazaras, and Uzbeks. Numerous other minor ethnic groups (Nuristanis, Baluchis, Turkmens, etc.) also call Afghanistan their home. While the majority of Afghans (99%) belong to the Islamic faith, there are also small pockets of Sikhs, Hindus and even some Jews. The official languages of the country are Pashto and Dari (Afghan Persian aka Farsi). The capital of Afghanistan is Kabul, which throughout history, was admired by many great figures, such as the great Central Asian conqueror, Zahirudeen Babur. Unfortunately, due to many years of war, this great city has been shattered and nearly destroyed.
Today, Afghanistan is on a road to recovery, however, after decades of war, the economy is still in ruins, and its environment is in a state of crises. After pushing the date back twice, Afghanistan's presidential elections were finally held on October 9, 2004. Over 8 million Afghans voted in the elections. The Joint Electoral Management Body of Afghanistan certified the elections on November 3rd, and declared Hamid Karzai, the interim President, the winner with 55.4% of the votes. Karzai's strongest challenger, Yunis Qanooni, came in second with 16.3% of the votes.
With help from the United States and the United Nations, Afghanistan adopted its new constitution, establishing the country as an Islamic Republic, in early January 2004. According to the constitution, the Afghan government consists of a powerful and popularly elected President, two Vice Presidents, and a National Assembly consisting of two Houses: the House of People (Wolesi Jirga), and the House of Elders (Meshrano Jirga). There is also an independent Judiciary branch consisting of the Supreme Court (Stera Mahkama), High Courts and Appeal Courts. The President appoints the members of the Supreme Court with the approval of the Wolesi Jirga. Assembly elections were held in late 2005.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Afghanistan, was subject to Persian Magian rule…Badakhshan, the northern provinces, Juzjan, etc. all the way to Takhar and Herat. Khurasan was part of the Persian empire, and Bukhara and Samarqand were all part of the Persian empire. How did ‘Uthman conquer it?

So, all of these areas were conquered in the era of ‘Uthman, and ‘Abd ar-Rahman bin Samurah conquered Kabul during the era of either ‘Umar or ‘Uthman. In the ‘Sunan’ of Abu Dawud, it says: “‘Abd ar-Rahman bin Samurah narrated to us in Kabul.” So, ‘Abd ar-Rahman bin Samurah conquered Kabul during the era of ‘Umar or ‘Uthman, may Allah be Pleased with them both.

None of the populations that were conquered by the Muslims ever rebelled or resisted them except the people of Afghanistan. The people of Afghanistan are very stubborn, and it is not an easy task to make them submit. So, the Muslims conquered it during the era of ‘Umar, and this was followed by a rebellion from some of the tribes and the expulsion of the Muslims, and the Muslims had to return later on and conquer Afghanistan a second time.

If the Afghans become convinced of an idea or belief, they are known to cling to it very tightly and spread it. This is why they carried the religion of Buddhism and the people of Afghanistan adopted it. There was no way to change them – Buddhism, that was it, and this is why there is a huge statue of Buddha still standing in Bamyan today.* They are the ones who spread Buddhism in the region – to Pakistan and India. The Afghans are the ones who spread it…some tribes became convinced of this belief and began spreading Buddhism.

Islam then came, they became convinced of Islam, and they spread it throughout the region. So, most of these areas adopted Islam through them, and Mahmud al-Ghaznawi invaded India seven times. He entered it and demolished their statue, Shamnama, and after this, the Afghan people adopted the Hanafi madhhab…”

Friday, September 24, 2010

Afghanistan Today

Afghan = "The People", stan = "The Land of"
Afghanistan = "The Land of Afghans"
Quick Facts:
  • Population:
    32,738,376 (July 2008 est.)
  • Official Languages:
    Pashtu, Dari
  • Religion:
    Sunni Muslim 80%, Shi'a Muslim 19%, Other (Hindu, Christian) 1%
  • Ethnic Groups:Pashtun 42%, Tajik 27%, Hazara 9%, Uzbek 9%, Aimak 4%, Turkmen 3%, Baloch 2%, other 4%
  • Currency:Afghani (1 Afghani (AF) = 100 puls)
  • Independence:19 August 1919 (from UK control over Afghan foreign affairs)
  • Total Area:647,500 sq km (250,000 sq. miles)
  • Environment - International Agreements:
    party to:
    Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection
    signed, but not ratified: Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Life Conservation
  • GDP:$21.5 billion (2006 est.)
  • GDP - Composition:
    Agriculture: 38%
    Industry: 24%
    Services: 38%
    Note: data exclude opium production (2005 est.)
Overview:Afghanistan does not have any links to any ocean or sea, it is a landlocked country. The northern and eastern part of the country has high terrain and the lower south and southwest is mostly semi-deserts and plain lands.
Total Area:647,500 sq km (250,000 sq. miles)
Arid to semiarid; cold winters and hot summers.
Mostly rugged mountains; plains in north and southwest.
Earthquakes; soil degradation, desertification, overgrazing, deforestation, war pollution.
Extreme Elevations:
lowest point:
Amu Darya 258 m
highest point: Nowshak 7,485 m
Natural Resources:
Natural Gas, Petroleum, Coal, Copper, Chromite, Talc, barites, Sulfur, Lead, Zinc, iron ore, salt, precious and semiprecious stones.
Environment Issues:
Limited natural fresh water resources; inadequate supplies of potable water; soil degradation; overgrazing; deforestation (much of the remaining forests are being cut down for fuel and building materials); desertification; air and water pollution
Boundary:China 76 km, Iran 936 km, Pakistan 2430 km, Tajikistan 1206 km, Turkmenistan 744 km, Uzbekistan 137 km
Administrative Regions (29 provinces/Wulayats):
Badakhshan, Badghis, Baghlan, Balkh, Bamiyan, Farah, Faryab, Ghazni, Ghor, Helmand, Herat, Juzjan, Kabul, Kandahar, Kapisa, Kunar, Kunduz, Laghman, Logar, Nangarhar, Nimruz, Oruzgan, Paktia, Paktika, Parwan, Samangan, Sar-e-Pul, Takhar, Wardak, Zabul

Monday, March 29, 2010

Nowruz in Afghanistan
Cooking samanu (or samanak) is a Nowruz tradition in Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan
In Afghanistan, Nowroz festival is traditionally celebrated for 2 weeks. Preparations for Nowroz start several days beforehand, at least after Chaharshanbe Suri, the last Wednesday before the New Year. Among various traditions and customs, the most important ones are:
Haft Mēwa: In Afghanistan, they prepare Haft Mēwa (Seven Fruits) instead of Haft Sin which is common in Iran. Haft Mewa is like a Fruit salad made from 7 different Dried fruits, served in their own syrup. The 7 dried fruits are: Raisin, Senjed (the dried fruit of the oleaster tree), Pistachio, Hazelnut, Prune (dry fruit of Apricot), Walnut and whether Almond or another species of Plum fruit.
Samanak: It is a special type of sweet dish made from Wheat germ. Women take a special party for it during the night, and cook it from late in the evening till the daylight, singing a special song: Samanak dar Josh o mā Kafcha zanem - Degarān dar Khwāb o mā Dafcha zanem
Mēla-e Gul-e Surkh (Persian: ميله‌ى گل سرخ): The Guli Surkh festival which literally means Red Flower Festival (referring to the red Tulip flowers) is an old festival celebrated only in Mazari Sharif during the first 40 days of the year when the Tulip flowers grow. People travel from different parts of the country to Mazar in order to attend the festival. It is celebrated along with the Jahenda Bālā ceremony which is a specific religious ceremony performed in the holy blue mosque of Mazar that is believed (mostly by Sunnite Afghans) to be the site of the tomb of Ali ibn Abi Talib, the fourth caliph of Islam. The ceremony is performed by raising a special banner (whose color configuration resembles Derafsh Kaviani) in the blue mosque in the first day of year (i.e. Nowroz). This is the biggest recorded Nowroz gathering where up to 200,000 people from all over Afghanistan get together in Mazar central park around blue mosque to celebrate the banner raising (Jahenda Bālā ) ceremony. The Guli Surkh party continues with other special activities among people in the Tulip fields and around the blue mosque for 40 days.
Buzkashi: Along with other customs and celebrations, normally a Buzkashi tournament is held. The Buzkashi matches take place in northern cities of Afghanistan and in Kabul.
Special cuisines: People cook special types of dishes for Nowroz, especially on the eve of Nowroz. Normally they cook Sabzi Chalaw, a dish made from rice and spinach, separately. Moreover, the bakeries prepare a special type of cookie, called Kulcha-e Nowrozī, which is only baked for Nowroz. Another dish which is prepared mostly for the Nowroz days is Māhī wa Jelabī (Fried Fish and Jelabi) and it is the most often meal in picnics. In Afghanistan, it is a common custom among the affianced families that the fiancé's family give presents to or prepare special dishes for the fiancée's family on special occasions such as in the two Eids, Barā'at and in Nowroz. Hence, the special dish for Nowroz is Māhī wa Jelabī.
Sightseeing to Cercis fields: The citizens of Kabul go to Istalif, Charikar or other green places around where the Cercis flowers grow. They go for picnic with their families during the first 2 weeks of New Year. Jashni Dehqān: Jashni Dehqan means The Festival of Farmers. It is celebrated in the first day of year, in which the farmers walk in the cities as a sign of encouragement for the agricultural productions. In recent years, this activity is being performed only in Kabul and other major cities, in which the mayor and other high governmental personalities participate for watching and observing.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Afghan dance be for information only and not to be misrepresented by night club or show dancing but only to be further studied to be possibly eventually performed by very serious folk and ethnic dancers in a respectful egoless manner. No part of this copyrighted material which is drawn from publications by Eastern Arts may be used in any way without written permission from Eastern Arts, Thank you.
TERMINOLOGYPASHTUN - people of southern area of Afghanistan
TAJIK - Asiatic people in the north
TURKOMEN - people of the northwest
LOGARI - type of dance from Logar valley
SHAUQI - amateur musician, dancer; unpaid hobbyist
SAMOWAR - tea house where musicians meet and play
KESPI - professional (musician or other)
REBAB - skin-covered stringed instrument native of Afghanistan
TAMBUR - long necked stringed instrument
ZERBAGHALI - single headed clay goblet drum
DHOL - double headed wooden barrel drum
ATAN - national circle dance of Afghanistan
DOIRA - round frame drum
CHOPBAZI - stick dance
NAZ - flirtatious or coy attitude
MAIDA - tiny shuffling footwork

Afghanistan was one of the first stops for Indo-Aryan tribes on their way to India and Persia. It is the area where the original Vedic and Avestan hymns were developed and from whence most of the great Persian poets hail including Molana Jalalladin Rumi. Afghanistan was on the path of Buddhism which found it's way to Central Asia and China with Bamyan as a major Buddhist center with it's huge statue of the Buddha carved in a cave which was recently destroyed because is was considered a pagan a graven image. Afghanistan is a land of three main ethnic groups: the Pashtuns who inhabit the southern half, the Tajiks who are said to be the former inhabitants of the area and the Asiatic people of the north (mainly Uzbek), and Turkoman in the northwest. The southwest is inhabited by a minority group known as Baluchi who spread over from Iran and into Pakistan. The western border area of Afghanistan, Herat province, is inhabited by people similar to those living on the other side of the border in Iranian Khorasan. Music in Afghanistan seems to be divisible along these ethnic lines: Pashtun, Herati, Uzbek and the less predominant Baluchi and Turkoman styles. Logar province, south of Kabul is known for it's musicians and dancers and has a special style of it's own. In recent decades, Indian classical music has influenced the Kabul area.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Afghanistan Traditional Dance (Attan)
Attan is a traditional Afghan dance; It's origin lies in the Afghan Pashtoon tribes pagan yester-years and usually involved men performing a ritual dance. This was later modified into a Muslim dance of soldiers to allow the dancers to get 'closer to God' before they advanced on their missions. It was noted by the Moghuls of the period and is unique only amongst Afghans living in and around southern borders of Afghanistan.It is performed usually with a Dhol, which is a double-headed barrel drum that has a very deep and low resonance sound. Other instruments can include a single barreled Dhol, Tablas, the 18-stringed Robab, Surnai flute (aka shanai-India, zurna - Central Asia and Turkey, and zurla Macedonia), or wooden flute known as a Toola. The technique behind the Attan has changed much for over centuries, but its base has not changed. Its a circular dance ranging from two to over a hundred people, and the performers will follow each other going round and round in a circle to the beat as the rhythm and beats faster.More complex Attans involve an Attan troup leader who begins the attan slowly using a variation of styles and techniques, and the ultimate spin is performed after the leader gives the signal, either by placing his hand on the floor or raising it in the air. The musicians perform the music at the technique of the leader and is fully dependent on the attan leader for guidance. The dance can be anywhere from 5 minute to 30 minutes long. The attan will end when no dancer is left standing on the dance floor. It is not uncommon for a dancer to faint during the performance as it is very physically intensive. The dance has become very popular throughout Afghanistan and can be performed year-round in all festive occasions. In Afghanistan each valley has its own unique style.There are many different kinds of Attan in Afghanistan, Kabuli, Wardaki, Logari, Khosti/Paktia, Herati, Kochyano, Khattak, Pashayi (played with Surnai flute), and Nuristani.
Atan, a 7/8 meter circle dance, is considered the national dance of Afghanistan. It is performed by groups of up to ten or more to the accompaniment of the large dhol usually played with sticks and sometimes the sorna (double reed pipe). The 7/8 beat is divided in two measure increments with the main accents falling on 1, 4, 6, 8 and pickup accents on 3, 13 and 14. The atan begins with an announcement by the drum, the dancers then move slowly in a circle around the drummer(s). Speed builds gradually until accelerated to wild movement and rhythm. The dancers go through various attitudes and figures, sometimes singing, sometimes shouting or at other times clapping or snapping their fingers. The dancers often carry handkerchiefs in their hands. Quick spinning and whirling movements of the body are prominent; although in some areas movement of the head and flying hair is more important. In villages the men may carry swords and guns while dancing the atan and the dance can go on for hours, sometimes until dawn. Although the dance is usually a men's dance, on rare ocasions it is performed by men and women together known as ghberg atan. In this case the men sing love songs, answered by the women, and the dialogue continues along with the dance. Advanced moves done with scarves in each hand are characterized by rhythmic snappy head tosses which follow the spins. The Atan can also be done by a group of all women.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Afghanistan Wedding

Afghan wedding is interesting and unique. As you enter the door, a row of women on your right and a row of men on your left, welcome you in. The bride and groom’s family will great and escort the guests to the tables. Guests in an Afghan wedding are dressed with highly expensive clothes and jewelries, as they show their best appearance at a wedding. The guest gather around their loved ones and talk about their lives and maybe little gossip and secret exchanges, as the musician plays mellow music for these who care to listen and calm soothing music for those who are in a mist of a political debate. At another corner of the stage two very decorative chairs are set for bride and groom. In front of the chairs there is a table with highly decorative ensembles including beautiful candles and beautiful flowers. A traditional Afghan wedding usually begins around 6 in the evening and ends as long as the hall agreement allows them. Till 8 in the evening musician play music as young people dance while more and more people come in. Around 9 at night the musician plays a special song, which commemorates the arrival of the bride and groom. The song is called “Ahesta bero, mah e man ahesta bero” meaning (walk slowly my light of night go slowly). This song was made decades ago and has been sung in wedding songs for generations. Back in the early 20’s Ustad Mohammad Hussain Sarahang the greatest Classical singer in Afghan history changed a song and made the lyrics more joyful but still in a slow classical form. Later on Ustad Rahimbakhsh sang it more in a folkloric style, which till this day is being sang. As the Bride and Groom walk inside the hall all guest stand up to pay respect to the entrance of the Holy Quran being held over the heads of the Bride and groom. As the bride and groom walk very slowly to the beat of the song, guest take pictures while others clap their appearance. Bride and groom take their rightful place at the throne as though they are a king and Queen or that night. After the “Ahesta bero” is done the Bride and groom are covered under a very decorated shawl where in the past the groom will look at his Brides face in a mirror and will read a prayer from the Holy Quran, In the decades past this would have been the first time ever that the bride and groom would have seen each other face due to arranged marriages. The shawl is lifted and the bride and groom feed each other “Maaleda” and Beverage as the guests applaud. The actual Religious ceremony where the Spiritual Mullah and the witness, the bride and grooms family agree upon the premarital contract occurs behind the scene either before dinner or after dinner. The next song that follows is “Hena Beyarin bar Dastash gozarain” which means Bring Hena (Kheena) a red colored dye which leave a Orange Red stain on the skin) and place on their hand.
Historically the bride and grooms palms were cut in little insertion so that they could be joined in blood, as time passed they replaced it with Hena so it would be more healthy and lest messy. At this moment a girl dressed in traditional Afghani clothes will come though the door with a silver tray with candles and assorts of beautiful fresh flowers with little containers of “hena” dancing and turning all the way to the throne of Bride and groom. The Mother of the groom will place a teaspoon full of Hena onto the Brides palm and cover it with a triangular cloth made of very fine and shinny fabric. The Brides mother places the Hena on the pinkie figure of the groom and likewise covers it with the fabric. After hours of dancing they will announce that dinner is ready, all the guests will form a line and walk alongside of a beautifully decorated buffet where assorted of authentic Afghan meals are presented. From the Shohla e Goshtee to three different values of rice Called Palou and Chalou, there are many kinds of Kabobs; Kabob e Chopan, Chaplee Kabob, Teka Kabob, Shaami Kabob, also Mantu Aushak with authentic Afghan Bread will conclude the dinner table. For desert they will serve Firnee, Sheer Brenj, Jello, Baghalua with fruits of the season. After Desert is finished The Bride and groom will walk over to the 3 store cake and the musician will return from dinner and sing the traditional song of “Baada Baada Elahee Mubarak Baada - Man dil ba tu dada am Tawakol ba khoda” Meaning Congratulation I gave u my heart now I leave it to GOD as the bride and groom cut the cake and the member of the family will cut the cake into small pieces and serve the guests. Then comes the hours of enjoyment as the musicians plays fast beat songs and the dance floor fills up with people as the dance till the end of the ceremony which could go till dawn. At the end of ceremony “attan” is being performed, Attan is a traditional Afghan dance; its origin is the provinces to the south of Afghanistan where every celebration ended with this dance. The Beat is a traditional Afghan Beat of “mogholi” where no other Nation in the world uses this beat its a creation of Afghans of the Moghol dynasty. A huge circle is created and the performers will follow each other going round and round in a circle to the beat as the rhythm and beats faster the slower participants drop out remains the ones who can dance and move. There are three different kinds of attan in Afghanistan, “wardaki” “logari” and “khosti” Wardaki consists of body movements no clapping and lots of turns and twists. “logari” uses the clapping and the full turns in place as well as the main turn. “khosti” is interesting because of the head movements the head is snapped side to sides as their long jet black hair fling through the air. The Music is finished and the hosts along with bride and groom stand by the door to show their respect and thank the guests for coming to their wedding ceremony.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Overview of Dari Language,
Dari sometimes also called Dari Persian, is one of the official languages of Afghanistan, along with Pashto. The people who speak Dari are concentrated largely in the north and center parts of the country, as well as the capital, but the Dari language also functions as a lingua franca among many of Afghanistan's diverse inhabitants. In addition, it serves as the language of business and higher education in much of the country, and as such carries great prestige. Dari is a member of the West Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. Like its closest relatives, Farsi and Tajiki, Dari traces its roots to the ancient Persian language, one of the oldest known languages in the world. It also is more distantly related to Afghanistan's other main language, Pashto, which is an East Iranian language. However, some people learning Dari may be surprised to realize that despite being written in a variant of the Arabic script and having borrowed many Arabic words, Dari is not linguistically related to Arabic.
Classification of the Dari Language and Dari Vocabulary
The bulk of Dari vocabulary comes from native Iranian roots. Enough words are shared between Dari, Farsi, and Tajiki that people who speak Dari can often understand and make themselves understood to speakers of the other two languages.Nonetheless, like most languages, Dari has also borrowed words from other languages around it. Unsurprisingly, many loanwords come from Pashto, the other official language of Afghanistan. Arabic elements are also an indispensable part of spoken and written Dari. Arabic grammar and syntax have not affected the structure of Dari to any great extent; however, the influence of Arabic on Dari vocabulary has been enormous. More recently, there has been an influx English borrowings, many of which are simply sounded out phonetically in the Dari script. Loanwords from Indian and Turkic languages are also present.Dari has given words to other languages as well. The exchange with Pashto goes both ways, for example, especially since it is not uncommon for Afghani Pashto speakers to learn Dari as well. Dari has also contributed vocabulary words to a number of South Asian languages, such as Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi, and Bengali.
The Dari Alphabet and Dari Pronunciation
The Dari alphabet is based on the Arabic alphabet, although it has four additional letters that do not exist in Arabic. The Dari alphabet consists of 32 letters in total. Some letters represent sounds that are familiar to English speakers, while others represent sounds that are not used in English. People who are trying to learn Dari pronunciation should pay particular attention to the unfamiliar sounds. The Dari language is usually written using only consonants and long vowels. There are small diacritic marks which can be used above or below letters to indicate short vowels, but these marks are normally used only by children or by people learning Dari as a foreign language. To master Dari pronunciation, however, it is important to remember that the short vowels are pronounced even though they are usually not written.Dari text is written in a flowing script that runs from right to left, the opposite of English. Dari letters do not have capital and lowercase forms. However, most Dari letters connect to the letters preceding and following them, just as in English cursive writing. Due to these connections, letters often change shape depending on their placement within a word. In general, each letter will have one shape at the beginning of a word, another shape in the middle of a word, a third shape at the end of a word, and a fourth shape when it occurs by itself.
Dari Grammar
Learning Dari grammar is comparatively simple. Gender, noun inflection, agreement of adjectives, irregular verb conjugations - all of those things that can be so challenging to master in some languages - are absent from Dari. However, the syntax (the ordering of words in a sentence) of Dari is fixed and therefore important. The most common word order for a Dari sentence is Subject-Object-Verb. Verbs are conjugated by adding prefixes and suffixes to indicate tense, mood, and person. Dari adjectives usually follow the nouns they modify. The nouns themselves have singular, plural, and dual forms. Regular practice is necessary to learn to speak Dari well. That's why good Dari software programs can be so useful for language learning. It's easier than ever to begin to speak Dari with the language resources and Dari language software from Transparent Language. With our language learning products, you will speak the language, learn the alphabet, learn vocabulary, and understand grammar and master pronunciation quickly!

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Panjshir Valley
The Panjshir Valley (also spelled Panjsheer or Panjsher; Persian: دره پنجشير - Dara-ye Panjšēr; literally Valley of the Five Lions) is a valley in north-central Afghanistan, 150 km north of Kabul, near the Hindu Kush mountain range. Located in the Panjshir Province it is divided by the Panjshir River. The valley is home to more than 300,000 people, including Afghanistan's largest concentration of ethnic Tajiks. As of April 2004, it became the heart of Panjshir Province
The name Panjshir, literally meaning "Five Lions", refers to five Wali (literally, protectors), highly spiritual brothers who were centered in the valley. Local legend has it that the five brothers built a dam for Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni (سلطان محمود غزنوی) in the early 11th century AD. The foundations serve today for a modern reservoir.
The Panjshir City
The Panjshir Valley has long been a center of resistance to Afghan central governments and outside powers seeking to rule the region. The region was propelled into the news by the eponymous Panjshir Valley Incident, a 1975 anti-Communist uprising led by Ahmad Shah Massoud. The uprising ultimately failed when local people, hearing news that the central government of Daoud Khan was sending in outside troops to put down the uprising, turned against Massoud. Massoud would be more successful using the valley as the base for his Northern Alliance during the 1979–1989 Soviet war in Afghanistan. The Panjsher Valley was one of the main centers of rebellion by Afghan Mujahideen against the government of Mohammad Najibullah and the Soviet forces. It was during this time that Massoud earned his nickname of the Lion of Panjsher. The Panjshir was the only section of Afghanistan which successfully resisted Soviet control. The Soviets launched nine offensives in the valley, all of which failed. Some sources estimate that close to 60% of all Soviet casualties of the Soviet-Afghan war occurred in the Panjshir Valley.The valley would become an important point of resistance against the Taliban when they rose to power in 1996 after the Mujahideen civil wars.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Band-e Amir
Band-e Amir ( (Persian: بند امیر, meaning "Dam of the Amir") refers to five lakes high in the Hindu Kush Mountains of Central Afghanistan at approximately 3000 meters elevation, west of the famous Buddha’s of Bamiyan. They were created by the carbon dioxide rich water oozing out of the faults and fractures to deposit calcium carbonate precipitate in the form of travertine walls that today store the water of these lakes.

Band-e Amir was to become Afghanistan's first national park in the 1960s, but due to the instability of the Kabul government at the time, this did not happen. In 2004, Band-e Amir was submitted for recognition as a World Heritage site. In 2008, Band-e Amir was finally declared Afghanistan's first national park. Band-e Amir is situated at approximately 75 kilometers to the north-west of the ancient city of Bamyan, close to the town of Yakawlang. Together with Bamiyan, they are the heart of Afghanistan's tourism, attracting thousands of tourists every year and from every corner of the world.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Bamyan بامیان
Bamyan (Persian: بامیان Bāmyān), also spelt Bamiyan and Bamian in English, is the capital of Bamyan Province and the largest town in Hazarajat, central Afghanistan. It has a population of about 61,863 people, and is approximately 240 kilometers north-west of Kabul. It is notable for the ancient part of the town, where the Buddhas of Bamyan stood for almost two millennia until dynamited by the Taliban in 2001. Recently Bamyan was accredited as home to the world's oldest oil paintings. Situated on the ancient Silk Road, the town remained on crossroads between the East and West, when all the trade between China and the Middle East passed through it. The Hunas made it their capital in the 5th century. Because of the cliff of Buddhas, the gigantic statues, the ruins of the Monk's caves, Shar-i-Gholghola (trans. 'City of Sighs', the ruins of an ancient city destroyed by Ghengis Khan), and the local scenery, it is one of the most visited places in Afghanistan. The Shar-i-Zohak mound ten miles south of the valley is the site of a citadel that guarded the city and the ruins of an acropolis could be found there as late as the 1990s. The town is the cultural center of the Hazara ethnic group of Afghanistan. Most of the population lives in downtown Bamyan, at an altitude of about 9,200 feet (2,800 m). The valley is cradled between parallel mountain ranges: the Hindu Kush and the Koh-i-Baba. Bamyan is a small town, with the bazaar at its center. The infrastructure (electricity, gas, water supply) is totally non-existent. According to Sister Cities International, Bamyan has established a sister city relationship with Gering, Nebraska, USA. There is an airport with a gravel runway. Mountains cover ninety percent of the province, and the cold winter lasts for six months with temperatures of three to twenty degrees Celsius below zero. Transportation facilities are increasing, but are still sparse.
The main crops are wheat, barley, mushung, and baquli, which are grown in the spring. When crops were affected by unusually harsh weather, the people usually led their livestock down to Ghazni and Maidan Provinces to exchange for food. The city of Bamyan was part of the Buddhist Kushan Empire in the early centuries of the Christian era. After the Kushan Empire fell to the Sassanids, Bamyan became part of the Kushansha vassals to the Sassanids. The Hephthalites conquered Bamyan in the 5th century. After their Khanate was destroyed by the Sassanids and Turks in 565, Bamyan became the capital of a small Kushano-Hephthalite kingdom that lasted until it was conquered by the Saffarids in 870. The area was conquered by the Ghaznavids in the 11th century. For decades, Bamyan has been the centre of fighting between zealous Muslim Taliban forces and the anti-Taliban alliance – mainly Hizb-i-Wahdat – preceded by the clashes between the warlords of the local militia.


On the face of a mountain near the city, three colossal statues were carved 4,000 feet apart. One of them was 175 feet (53 m) high, the world's tallest standing statue of Buddha. The ancient statue was carved during the Kushan period in the fifth century. The statues were destroyed by the Taliban in March 2001, on the basis that they were un-Islamic. Since 2001 limited efforts are ongoing to rebuild them with negligible success. At one time, two thousand monks prayed in caves in the sandstone cliffs. The caves were also a big tourist attraction before the long series of wars in Afghanistan. The world’s earliest oil paintings have been discovered in caves behind the partially destroyed colossal Buddha statues. Scientists from the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility have confirmed that oil based paintings, possibly using either walnut or poppy seed oil, are present in 12 of the 50 caves dating from the 5th to 9th century

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Herāt (Persian: هرات), classically called the Aria, is a city in western Afghanistan, in the province also known as Herat. It is situated in the valley of the Hari River, which flows from the mountains of central Afghanistan to the Karakum Desert in Turkmenistan. Situated in a fertile area, Herat was traditionally known for its wine. It is the second largest city in Afghanistan, with a population of 349,000 (2006 official estimate). Persian-speaking Tajiks (or Fārsīwān) are the main inhabitants of the city and the province, and are roughly the same as the Persians of Eastern Iran. Herat is an ancient city with many historic buildings, although these have suffered damage in various military conflicts during the last few decades. The city is dominated by the remains of a citadel constructed by Alexander the Great. During the Middle Ages Herāt became one of the important cities of Khorasan, and it was known as the Pearl of Khorasan. Herāt is situated favorably on the ancient and historic trade routes of the Middle East, South Asia, Pakistan, China, India and Europe. The roads from Herāt to Iran, Turkmenistan, Mazar-e Sharif and Kandahar are still strategically important. These roads are being rebuilt by the Afghan government with international aid. Herat is the most important city to Afghanistan economically as it is the gateway to Iran and the city with the highest amount of customs revenue. Herāt dates back to ancient times, but its exact age remains unknown. In Achaemenid times (ca. 550-330 BC), the surrounding district was known as Haraiva (in Old Persian), and in classical sources the region was correspondingly known as Aria (Areia). In the Zoroastrian Avesta, the district is mentioned as Haroiva. The name of the district and its main town is derived from that of the chief river of the region, the Hari River (Old Iranian Harayu, "with velocity"), which traverses the district and passes some 5 km (3.1 mi) south of modern Herāt. From 1718 until 1863, there were various battles fought between the natives of the city and the Afghans until the city became part of present-day Afghanistan. Ahmad Shah Durrani took possession of Herāt in 1750, which became part of the Durrani Empire after almost a year of siege and bloody conflict. In 1824, the city became effectively independent when the country was split in three to resolve a succession struggle. The city was taken back by the Persians in 1852 and again in 1856; both times the British helped to reverse the attempt, the second time through the Anglo-Persian War. The city was taken by Dost Mohammed Khan in 1863, making it part of a broader "Afghan state”. Most of the Musallah complex in Herat was cleared in 1885 by the British army to get a good line of sight for their artillery against Russian invaders who never came. This was but one small sidetrack in the Great Game, a century-long conflict between the British Empire and the Russian Empire in 19th century.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Jalalabad (Persian: جلال اباد - Jalālābād; also known as Pashto: جلالکوټ - Jalālkot) is a city in eastern Afghanistan. Located at the junction of the Kabul and Kunar rivers near the Laghman valley, Jalalabad is the capital of Nangarhar province. It is linked by approximately 95 miles (153 km) of highway with Kabul to the west and about the same distance with Peshawar in Pakistan to the east.Jalalabad is the largest city in eastern Afghanistan as well as its social and business center of activity. Major industries include papermaking, as well agricultural products including oranges, rice, and sugarcane. Jalalabad is one of the leading trading centers with India and Pakistan. In 630 Xuan Zang, the famous Chinese Buddhist monk, arrived in Jalalabad and considered himself to have reached Hindustan. The city was a major center of Gandhara's Greco-Buddhist culture in the past until it was conquered by Muslim Arabs in the 7th century to the 10th century. In a 982 CE book called Hudud-al-Alam it mentions a village near modern Jalalabad where the local king used to have many Hindu, Muslim and Afghan wives. The original name of Jalalabad was Adinapur as also mentioned here: ' in the following year 1505, Babar meditated an incursion into India and proceeded by Jalalabad (then called Adinapur) and the Khaibar Pass to Peshawar.The modern city gained prominence during the reign of the Mughal emperor Babur. The founder of the Mughal Empire of India, Babur, had chosen the site for this city and the city was built by his grandson Jalal-uddin Mohammad Akbar in 1570. British troops were beseiged by Akbar Khan in the city in 1842 during the First Anglo-Afghan War. Today the city is being rebuilt under NATO and UN direction after decades of war and has been receiving an influx of returning refugees largely from Pakistan. The city is considered one of the most important cities of the Pashtun culture.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Mazār-e Sharīf
Mazār-e Sharīf or Mazāri Sharīf (Persian: مزارِ شریف) is the fourth largest city of Afghanistan, with population of 300,600 people (2006 estimate). It is the capital of Balkh province and is linked by roads to Kabul in the south-east, Herat to the west and Uzbekistan to the north. Mazari Sharif means "Noble Shrine," a reference to the large, blue-tiled sanctuary and mosque in the center of the city known as the Shrine of Hazrat Ali or the Blue Mosque. It is believed by some Muslims that the site of the tomb of Ali ibn Abi Talib, the cousin and son-in-law of Prophet Muhammad, is in Mazari Sharif. Twelver Shi'as however, believe that the real grave of Ali is found within Imam Ali Mosque in Najaf, Iraq, as was disclosed by the Sixth Twelver Shi'a Imam, Ja'far as-Sadiq. The city is a major tourist attraction because of its fabulous Muslim and Hellenistic archeological sites. In July 2006, the discovery of new Hellenistic remains was announced. The ethnic majority in the city are Tajiks. According to tradition, Mazari Sharif owes its existence to a dream. At the beginning of the 1100s, a local mullah had a dream in which Ali bin Abi Talib, the Muhammad's cousin and son-in-law and one of the four Rightly Guided Caliphs appeared to reveal that he had been secretly buried near the city of Balkh. After investigation, the Seljuk sultan Sanjar ordered a city and shrine to be built on the spot, where it stood until its destruction by Genghis Khan. Although later rebuilt, Mazar stood in the shadow of its neighbor Balkh, until that city was abandoned in 1866 for health reasons.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Kandahar, also spelled Qandahar, : کندهار or قندهار) is the second largest city in Afghanistan, with a population of 324,800 (2006 estimate). It is the capital of Kandahar province, located in the south of the country at about 1,005 m (3,297 feet) above sea level. The Arghandab River runs right next to the city. Kandahar is a major trading center for sheep, wool, cotton, silk, felt, food grains, fresh and dried fruit, and tobacco. The region produces fine fruits, especially pomegranates and grapes, and the city has plants for canning, drying, and packing fruit. Kandahar has an international airport and extensive road links with Farah and Herat to the west, Ghazni and Kabul to the northeast, Tarin Kowt to the north, and Quetta in Pakistan to the south. Many empires have long fought over the city, due to its strategic location along the trade routes of Southern and Central Asia. In 1748, Ahmad Shah Durrani, founder of the Durrani Empire, made Kandahar the capital of Afghanistan. It is believed that Kandahar may have derived from the Pashto pronunciation of Alexandria, or Iskanderiya. A temple to the deified Alexander as well as an inscription in Greek and Aramaic by the Indian Emperor Ashoka, who lived a few decades later, have been discovered in the old citadel. An alternative etymology derives the name of the city from Gandhara, the name of an ancient kingdom and its capital city located between the Hindukush and Sulaiman Mountains (basically identical to the modern extend of the Pashtun-inhabited territories in Pakistan and Afghanistan), although Kandahar in modern times and the ancient Gandhara are not totally identical, geographically.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Culture of Kabul has got a rich history. The cultural heritage of 5000 years is uniquely Afghan due to less contact with the outside world. Most of the population of Kabul live in the rural area. Kinship is very important for this patriarchal community. Above all religion plays the most important role in their life. People respect their tradition. Culture of Kabul is enriched by the great works of art. The archaeological sites reveal some of the great works of art that belong to the pre-Islamic and Islamic periods. The traditional art is taking new form now a days. The paintings show influence of heart school of 15th century Timurid period. In 1930s the School of Fine Arts was established in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan. The Timurid techniques are used even today in architecture specially while designing the exterior walls of tombs and mosques. Kabul is also known for the world famous Afghan carpets as well as copper utensils. Culture in Kabul shows that the theme of the theater are mainly drawn form daily life. Western influence is visible. But only European classics are being enacted. The renowned theaters are Qandahar, heart etc. In the field of music and dance traditional folk singing and dancing are gaining importance along with Indian and Western music. Attan dance is the national dance of the country. Kabul culture is enriched by the influence of various other cultures.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Clothing, Traditional Afghanistan
Traditionally, Afghan dress reflects ethnic diversity and the socio-cultural, historical, and geopolitical dynamics of the region. The country and its people are positioned at the crossroads between the Arab, Persian, Turkish, and Asian empires. Consequently, Afghan dress shows strong aesthetic connections to areas contiguous to its borders: the Arab and Islamic Middle East and Persia, the Turkish Ottoman Empire, and, to a lesser degree, Mughal India.
Since the 1920s, Afghanistan's leaders, in an effort to maintain control of both human and natural resources, have struggled with the definition of women's rights and independence as exemplified in the propriety of dress. Afghan dress also reflects other aspects of identity in a variety of inseparable yet interrelated ways: gendered and generational status; religious affiliation; rural and urban differences; stages of the life cycle; and everyday or special occasions. Afghan dress first and foremost distinguishes gender. Men wear tombaan, an overshirt (payraan), a hat or cap (kullaa), and footwear or boots. In addition to this basic ensemble, Afghan men wear a vest (waaskaat), another hat (pokool), and a shawl (shaal) during colder seasons.
Women customarily wear four items of dress: the pants (tombaan), an overdress (parahaan), a head covering (chaadar), and footwear (payzaar). This ensemble is referred to as kalaa Afghani, or Afghan women's dress.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Old traditions, an obstacle for Afghan women
The two extremes have always been a problem for Afghanistan. On the one hand, a very few Afghan women have quickly adapted to the new western style in big cities. While others in villages are still suffering from old traditions that prevent them from the least education.
After the fall of Taliban in 2001, following resurgence of Northern Alliance and now under the command of Hamid Karzi Afghanistan has started to move towards prosperity - however, very slow and gradually. Just months before the new government, women couldn’t dare to come out without Burqa or even they sat at home the whole 12 months of year; whereas, now the same Afghan women not only walk on the streets of Kabul and Mazar-e-Sharif but also drive cars.
People start sending their daughters to schools, colleges and universities - which was impossible in the Taliban regime. Men started living freely - no more obligations to put on beard and wearing turban. Today many Afghan women go to work. They go to universities as student and lecturers. They are almost involved in all fields. But to what extent they fulfil their responsibilities towards their country – a county which has just came out of the civil war and overcame terrorism -, less people know. There are questions to be answered. The question which a colleague asked me just few days ago was why don’t we study or find a job instead of spending 6 hours on makeup and choosing clothing style? It could be asked from many other women too. Many girls in Kabul have very soon adjusted the new western styles of cloths and makeup. On the other hand, the other question that should be asked is what percentage of women is free to get education or work? Very few! There are still cities and villages where women are not authorised to come out of home. Of course, not because The Taliban would kill them, but because the “nonsense and irrational” old traditional mentality will be damaged.
The percentage of women who had some access to education and job are more successful today whereas the ones left behind the closed doors are regressed.
One of the well known saying ‘Today’s Daughter, Tomorrow’s Mother’ might remind us how important it is to concentrate on the education and success of women in general and particularly an Afghan woman. Leaving you with a thought of what can those meaningless traditions have given so far or what they will give us in the future, I ask all Afghan women to move forward in all possible fields and carry out their responsibilities towards their country.

Culture of Afghanistan
Culture of Afghanistan has been influenced by many aspects. For centuries Afghanistan has been used by invaders as their gateway to India and other central Asian countries. Afghanistan has been the part of several mighty and culturally empires, which left their legacy in the region. Rich and long cultural heritage has been left in Afghanistan by Greeks, Persians and Indians. Islam had its impact on Afghanistan culture. Islamic threads were left in the art, music, architecture and poetry of Afghanistan. Due to constant battles and wars the cultural assets of Afghanistan have blemished in recent days. Afghans are expert in embellishing their daily life articles with fine arts and calligraphy.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Loya Jirga (Pashto: لويه جرګه)
A Loya Jirga (Pashto: لويه جرګه) is a "grand assembly," a Pashto phrase meaning "grand council." A loya jirga is a political meeting usually used to choose new kings, adopt constitutions, or decide important political matters and disputes in Pashtuns areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan. In Afghanistan, the loya jirga was originally attended only by Pashtun groups, but later included other ethnic groups. It is a forum unique among Pashtuns of Afghanistan and Pakistan in which, traditionally, tribal elders meet together (although the Pashto Wazir tribe on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border has a similar tribal governance structure.) The words loya (great/grand) and jirga ("council", "assembly", "dispute" or "meeting") are of Pashto Origin. The word Jirga is the one of primary concept of Afghan law, Afghanwali or famously known as Pashtunwali. Pukhtoonwali is the code of ethics of the Pashtoons, the Jirga their Parliament or National Assembly and intrepidity and frankness an essential trait of their character. The Afghan LOYA JIRGA as Platform of Pashtoonwali. Observing the salient features of Afghan society, the traditional Afghan “Jirga” and “Loya Jirga” come first in the traditional political solution and have been alive since the ancient Aryan period, The Pashtoons Social Democratic Party.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Afghani food
The traditional mode of eating in Afghanistan is on the floor. Everyone sits around on large colourful cushions, called toshak. These cushions are normally placed on the beautiful carpets, for which Afghanistan is famous. A large cloth or thin mat called a disterkhan is spread over the floor or carpet before the dishes of food are brought. Eating in afghanistan is an exciting and rich experience.Food has many different styles with thousands of great restaurants in all cities and towns in Afghanistan.Cuisine of all over the world can be found in Afghanistan.Including Asian,Indian,middle Eastern and other international tastes. Afghan cuisine is enriched with spices and rich aroma. Afghanistani cuisine is mainly influenced by that of Persia, India and Mongolia. Main ingredients are spices from India; mint, meat cookery, subzi from Persia and the noodles/ pasta from Mongolia. Afghani cuisine is flavored with garam masala, saffron, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, chilis, leeks, coriander, parsley, mint and black pepper. Pulao and Qabli puloao are famous dishes from Afghanistan. Vegetarian dishes are not so popular in Afghanistan. Due to environmental factors people take food rich in fat and protein.
Dry Fruit
Afghani meals Including Afghani walnuts, pine nuts, pasta, pickles, seasonings and spices. For the gourmet, there's an assortment of mountain mint, Basmati rice and Himalayan choi. We also have a complete . Afghanistani cuisine is mainly influenced by that of Persia, India and Mongolia. Taste of Afghanistan includes Afghani Naan, Kabuli Palow - afgani styled rice Palow, Aushok, Kebabs (Lamb, beef and chicken), sambosa, crispy triangle purses of fried pastries filled with ground beef and chickpeas. Mantu, Steamed dumplings fattened with minced onion beef, buranee-e-kadu or eggplant, chunks of fragrant butternut squash or eggplant topped with a dollop of creamy white yogurt and a spoonful of keema, a light meat sauce made with oil, chopped onion, ground beef and tomato puree, subzi or sautéed spinach delicately tempered with onion, salt and garlic. Afghani desserts are best taken with cups of not-so-strong but decent choi, Afghani black tea.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Poverty in Afghanistan
As one of the least developed countries on earth, Afghanistan faces many challenges in attaining its targets for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). These include significant poverty, food insecurity and health risks, and what was once called "the worst education system in the world". In recognition of its special situation, the target date for the MDGs in Afghanistan has been put back from 2015 to 2020. Progress is under way in some areas of human development. Electronic media and traveling theatres are being used increasingly to deliver vital health and hygiene messages. School enrolment has increased from one to six million since 2001, though a combination of poorly qualified teachers, distance and security deter many children, especially girls and those in rural areas, from attending. Likewise, the goal of promoting gender equality and women's empowerment has been an important focus of attention. Recent years have witnessed the creation of a new Ministry of Women's Affairs, a Constitution that promotes non-discrimination, and a legislative assembly with 25% of the seats set aside for women. An interim National Action Plan for Women of Afghanistan was launched in spring 2006 to promote women's leadership and equality. Yet forced marriages, domestic violence and lack of social and political participation continue to hinder progress of women's issues. A concentrated effort to reduce disparities across different social groups and a focus beyond the major cities - coupled with continued international donor commitment - will be critical to the success of meeting the country's development goals. Progress on the MDGs is being fed into the Afghanistan National Development Strategy (ANDS) (also known as the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper). The final ANDS was completed and approved by President Karzai in April 2008 and presented to the international community at the Paris donor conference in June.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Buzkashi is one of the ancient games played in Afghanistan. Buzkashi literally means "goat killing" and the name was derived from hunting of mountain goats by champions on horseback. The game originated from the time of Chengis Khan, one of the rulers of medieval Afghanistan. Provinces of Maimana, Mazar-e-Sharif, and Quataghan are the most popular destinations for Buzkashi. Due to the religious belief women are not allowed to watch the game. There are mainly two types of BuzkashiPlayed Tudabarai & Qarajai.
Afghanistan Travel

Afghanistan is one of the finest tourist destinations and known for its dramatic mountain scenery and the unparalleled hospitality of its people. The country is covered with valleys and the beautiful mountain ranges dominate the landscape of Afghanistan. It contains some incredible treasures of the world. Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan comprises of Mazar-e Sharif & Northeastern Afghanistan is the home of most sacred site, Samangan. It is famous for caves and shrines of Takht-e Rostam, A hidden Buddhist gem.

Attraction That Still Lures the Tourists,
Minaret of Jam, and the Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley were both included in the World Heritage list by UNESCO. The Minaret of Jam, is a 65-meters high structure made in the twelfth century. The Bamiyan Valley on the other hand contains numerous Buddhist monasteries and shrines. The Bamiyan Valley is also testimony to the tragic destruction by the Taliban of the two giant standing Buddha statues, which shook the world in March 2001.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Afghanistan (which literally means land of the Afghan) is a mountainous land-locked country located in Central Asia. It has a history and culture that goes back over 5000 years. Throughout its long, splendid, and sometime chaotic history, this area of the world has been known by various names. In ancient time, its inhabitants called the land Aryana.In the medieval era, it was called khorasan, and in modern times, its people have decided to call it Afghanistan. The exact population of Afghanistan in unknown, however, it’s estimated to be somewhere around 31 million. Afghanistan is a heterogeneous nation, in which there are four major ethnic groups: Pashtoons, Tajiks, Hazaras, and Uzbeks.Numerous other minor ethnic groups (Nuristanis, Baluchis, Turkmens, etc.) also call Afghanistan their home. While the majority of Afghans (99%) belong to Islamic faith, there are also small pockets of Sikhs, Hindus and even Jews.The official language of the country are Pashto and Dari (Afghan Persian aka Farsi). The capital of Afghanistan is Kabul, which throughout history, was admired by many great figures, such as the great central Asia conqueror, Zahirudeen Babur.Unfortunately, due to many years of war, this great city has been shattered and nearly destroyed.Today Afghanistan is on a road to recovery, however, after decades of war, the economy is still in ruins, and its environment is a state of crises. After pushing the date back twice, Afghanistan’s presidential election were finally held on October 9, 2004. Over 8 million Afghan voted in the elections. The joint Electoral Management Body of Afghanistan certifies the elections on November 3rd, and declared Hamid Karzai, the interim President, the winner with 55.4 % of the votes. Karzai’s strongest challenger, Yunis Qanooni, came in 2nd with 16.3 % of the votes.With help from the United States and United Nations, Afghanistan adopted its new constitution, establishing the country as an Islamic Republic, in early January 2004.According to the constitution, the Afghanistan government consists of a powerful and popularly elected President, two vice presidents, and National Assembly consisting of two houses of people (Wolesi Jirga), and the House of Elders (Meshrano Jirga). There is also an independent Judiciary branch consisting of Supreme Court (Stera Mahkama), High Court and Appeal Court. The president appoints the member of the Supreme Court with the approval of the Wolesi Jirga. Assembly elections are planned for late 2005.Afghanistan in southwestern Asia bounded on the north by Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan; on the east by china and part of the disputed territory of Jammu and Kashmir controlled by Pakistan; on the south by Pakistan; and on the west by Iran.Afghanistan monarchy from 1747 to 1973, when the king was overthrown by military officer and the country was proclaimed a republic dissolved in 1992 as the country erupted in civil war. Afghanistan lays across ancient trade an invasion routes from central Asia into India. This position has been the greatest influence on its history because the invaders often settled there. Today the population includes many different ethnic groups.Most of the present borders of the country were drawn up in the 19th century, when Afghanistan became a buffer state, or neutral zone, between Russia and British India.Kabul is the capital of Afghanistan.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Afghanistan Key Data,

Content: Asia
Region: Central Asia
Latitude: 033 00 N
Longitude: 065 00 E
Official Name: Islamic Republic of AfghanistanGovernment
Type: Islamic Republic
Population: 31,056,997 (July 2006 est)
Time Zone: UTC + 4:30
Currency: Afghani (AFG)
Area Total: 647,700 km2
Cost Line: 0 km (Land Locked)
Climate: Dry to semiarid, cold winter and hot summer
Language: Pashto, Pashtu or Pakhto number of speakers in approximately 14 million and Dari (Farsi) is spoken by almost every ethnic division, they are indo-European language and are the major two languages spoken in Afghanistan, other indo-European, Indo-Aryan languages such as Balochi, Pashyi and Eastern Farsi, are also spoken, Turkic and Altaic languages, such as Uzbek and Turkmen, are present Tajiki is also used.
Afghani Currency
Rate: 1 USD = 50
AFG Independent Day: 19 August
Fiscal year: 21 March 20 March
Internet Domain: af
Dialing Code: +93
Administrative Divisions: 34 Provinces
Pakistan: 2,430 km
Tajikistan: 1,206 km
Iran: 936 km
Turkmenistan: 744 km
Uzbekistan: 137 km
China: 76 km
Total: 5,529 km
Ethnic Division
Pashton: 35 %
Tajik: 27 %
Hazara: 19 %
Uzbek: 6 %
Aimak: 4 %
Turkmen: 3 %
Baloch: 2 %
Others: 4 %
ReligionsSunni Muslim: 88 %
Shi`a Muslim: 11 %
Others: 1 %

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Afghanistan is one of the Heaviest Mined Countries
Afghanistan has suffered greatly from war since 1978, and all sides to the various armed conflicts have used antipersonnel mines, particularly Soviet forces and the Afghan government from 1979 to 1992.Landmines have been planted indiscriminately over most of the country. Agricultural farms, grazing areas, irrigation canals, residential areas, roads and footpaths, both in urban and rural areas, are contaminated. Mines are a major obstacle to repatriation, relief, rehabilitation and development activities. Afghanistan is one of the heaviest mined countries in the world. In spite of eight years of intensive mine clearance, in 1999 only 146 square kilometers of mined area have been cleared. An area of 713 square kilometers remains to be cleared. Landmines kill or maim an estimated ten to twelve people each day in Afghanistan. It is believed that almost 50 percent of landmine victims die due to lack of medical facilities. Key developments since May 2001: Afghanistan has experienced dramatic political, military, and humanitarian changes. The cabinet approved Afghanistan’s accession to the Mine Ban Treaty on 29 July 2002 and the following day the Minister of Foreign Affairs signed the instrument of accession on behalf of the Transitional Islamic State of Afghanistan. Mine action operations were virtually brought to a halt following 11 September 2001. The mine action infrastructure suffered greatly during the subsequent military conflict, as some warring factions looted offices, seized vehicles and equipment, and assaulted local staff. Four deminers and two mine detection dogs were killed in errant U.S. air strikes. Military operations created additional threats to the population, especially unexploded U.S. cluster bomblets and ammunition scattered from storage depots hit by air strikes, as well as newly laid mines and booby-traps by Northern Alliance, Taliban, and Al-Qaeda fighters. A funding shortfall for the mine action program in Afghanistan prior to 11 September 2001 had threatened to again curtail mine action operations. But since October 2001, about $64 million has been pledged to mine action in Afghanistan. By March 2002, mine clearance, mine survey, and mine risk education operations had returned to earlier levels, and have since expanded beyond 2001 levels.In 2001, mine action NGOs surveyed approximately 14.7 million square meters of mined areas and 80.8 million square meters of former battlefield area, and cleared nearly 15.6 million square meters of mined area and 81.2 million square meters of former battlefields. Nearly 730,000 civilians received mine risk education. A total of 16,147 antipersonnel mines, 1,154 antivehicle mines, and 328,398 UXO were destroyed. In all of these activities, 95 to 99 percent of the actions were completed prior to 11 September 2001.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

When you think Afghanistan,
Where 20 years of war has totally crippled the economy, and you must try to somehow survive day-by-day by scrounging enough food to feed your children. Where people do not have the facilities to receive an education. Where people do not have the facilities to receive treatment at hospitals. Where, on average, men die at 40 years of age and women at 43. Where hundreds of thousands of people are maimed, disabled, or blind because of war and land mines. Where you face a high chance of becoming blind or crippled because of the lack of fresh fruit and vegetables, causing vitamin deficiency. If you are blind or crippled, no one can help you because those that are not blind or crippled need help as well.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Afghanistan is known for its mountainous terrain. The huge Hindu Kush mountains form a barrier between the Northern provinces and the rest of the country. This mountain range has also divided Afghanistan in three very different geographic regions known as; The Central Highlands, The Northern Plains, and the Southwestern Plateau. The altitude, climate, and soil condition in Afghanistan varies greatly on where in the country you are.


The central highlands have an area of about 160,000 square miles. This region of Afghanistan has deep, narrow valleys, as well as high mountains which have proven to be historically important to the defense of the country. One of the most famous routs to the Indian subcontinent, The Khyber Pass, is located in the mountain ranges of the central highlands. The climate in this part of Afghanistan is usually dry, with temperatures in the summer averaging around 80 degrees Fahrenheit, while the winters are very cold. The soil in this region ranges from desert-steppe, to meadow-steppe types.

This region of Afghanistan is made up of high plateaus and sandy deserts. The soil here is very infertile, except along the rivers in the southwest. This desolate region covers about 50,000 square miles, and is crossed by several large rivers including the Helmand. The average altitude of this area is about 3,000 feet. Kandahar, which lies at an elevation of about 3,500 feet, enjoys a dry, yet mild climate. Sand storms are not unusual in the deserts and arid plains of this region.
THE NORTHERN PLAINS: This region of Afghanistan covers about 40,000 square miles of extremely fertile foothills and plains. The Amu River (formerly known as the Oxus) runs through the edge of the foothills. The average elevation is about 2,000 feet. A tremendous amount of the country's agriculture thrives here. This region also possesses a vast amount of mineral deposits and natural gas.